BRUCE THORSON/USA TODAY SPORTSVanderbilt right fielder JJ Bleday, right, reacts after scoring a run during the eighth inning against Michigan in Game 3 of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.

Mason Hickman struck out 10 in six strong innings, and Vanderbilt secured the College World Series championship with an 8-2 victory over Michigan on Wednesday night in Omaha, Neb.

The Commodores (59-12) rallied to win the final two games of the best-of-three title series. Game 2 winning pitcher Kumar Rocker was named Most Outstanding Player, the sixth freshman to capture the honor.

Vanderbilt earned its second title, following the 2014 crown.

Hickman allowed one run on four hits. He walked three and threw 63 of 101 pitches for strikes.

Hickman settled in after allowing three consecutive hits and a run to open the game. In the fourth, Michigan loaded the bases on a single and two walks, but Hickman escaped by getting Ako Thomas on a sharp lineout to left.

After striking out four over his final two innings, Hickman handed it off to Jake Eder, who allowed a run on two hits in three innings.

Center fielder Pat DeMarco homered, drew the go-ahead walk and secured the final out for the Commodores, who outscored Michigan 12-3 after losing the opener of the title series on Monday.

Stephen Scott added a two-run single as Vanderbilt ended the season with 34 wins in 37 games. Fourth overall draft pick JJ Bleday and Harrison Ray contributed run-scoring singles while Ethan Paul lifted a sacrifice fly for the Commodores, who set a school record with 59 wins.

Bleday reached three times and scored on Phillip Clarke’s single in the eighth.

Michigan, which was one of the last four teams selected to the NCAA tournament, was seeking its third title, having won the College World Series in 1953 and 1962. However, the Wolverines (50-22) were forced to play Wednesday without leadoff hitter Jordan Nwogu, who exited the Tuesday game with a leg injury in the third inning.

Jordan Brewer hit an RBI single in the first inning and Blake Nelson hit an RBI double in the eighth for the Wolverines, who struck out 27 times in the last two games and 40 times in the best-of-three finals.

Michigan’s Karl Kauffmann allowed five runs on three hits in three innings. He walked five and struck out five. Jeff Criswell followed Kauffman and gave up three runs on six hits in five innings.


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